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What are your boundaries? Why are they important?

Updated: Sep 23, 2022

What are boundaries? A boundary is limited space between you and another person. This article will explore why it is important to set boundaries and what kinds of boundaries one may need. Boundaries can exist in different situations, such as at school, at home, or at work.

To establish healthy boundaries, you may need both outer boundaries: physical boundaries, and inner boundaries: emotional, mental, and spiritual.

  • Physical boundaries (Not feeling comfortable hugging a person you’ve just met or being touched by other people. Protecting your personal space, such as not feeling comfortable drinking in your own space.)

  • Material boundaries (Protecting your personal belongings, such as you may feel uncomfortable letting others use your clothes.)

  • Emotional boundaries (Protecting your emotional well-being by saying “no” to the things that upset you or stress you out.)

  • Mental boundaries (Taking responsibility for your actions and emotions. Not feeling responsible for other people’s emotions.)

  • Spiritual boundaries (Protecting your right to believe in what you want and practice your spiritual or religious beliefs.)

Why do you need boundaries?

The benefits of knowing and having your boundaries are abundant. Boundaries help you create a healthy relationship with your family, friends, coworkers, and even strangers, and it’s also crucial for some aspects of your mental health well-being.

How to set your boundaries?

Setting boundaries is a way of establishing your identity of what you believe, values, passion, thoughts, feeling, and behavior. Here are a few important things to consider when setting your boundaries, whether in a professional, academic, or personal setting.

If you are struggling to say “NO” to others as you are worried if you would hurt someone’s feelings, just know that boundaries should be based on your value, and they are yours. You have the right to say “No." It is important to express yourself clearly.

It is essential that you plan, be respectful and compromise to set healthy boundaries,

  • Plan: Think about what you want to say and how you want to say it before entering a difficult discussion.

  • Be respectful: It’s crucial to avoid yelling, using put-downs, and providing silent treatment.

  • Compromise: When appropriate, listen and consider the other person's needs. You don’t have to compromise, but give-and-take is a part of any healthy relationship.

Example of Setting Boundaries

Situation: You notice your roommate has been eating your food in the fridge.

Response: I would like to keep our food separate.

Situation: Your best friend calls you when you are busy to discuss her relationship issue.

Response: I can tell you are upset. I want to talk to you, but I am busy. Maybe, we can talk later today.

This content is extracted from the Counseling Workshop led by Lill Kip Lee, the Founder of Lilly Multicultural Coaching & Counseling, provided to Parami students, class fellows, and staff members at Parami University. The counseling workshop’s objective was to equip all Parami University members with the necessary skills and knowledge to build healthy learning and working environments.

Meanwhile, Parami University offers one-on-one counseling to students regarding their concerns, challenges, and resource needs. Student Affairs Officers communicate closely with each student to ensure that students can respond to academic life challenges effectively. Moreover, Parami plans to offer mental health support services to help students tackle obstacles and challenges of university life healthily.

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